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In cricket, ‘wrong’ way is the ‘right’ way


Washington: Cricket batsmen, who bat the “wrong” way, seem to have a stunning advantage as a new study has suggested that they are more successful than others.

The Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam research on professional and inexperienced cricket batsmen found that cricketers, who adopt a reversed stance, as in right-handed people who bat left-handed, and left-handers who bat right-handed, are far more likely to reach the first-class and international level, with professional batsmen being seven times more likely to adopt a reversed stance than the rest of the population.

The results suggest that a reversed stance leads to greater success and questions the way that similar sports (e.g. golf and baseball) are taught and performed.

The reason for the advantage appears to be that the reversed stance places the dominant hand at the top rather than the bottom of the bat handle.

Lead author David Mann said that the top hand is typically responsible for controlling and guiding the path of the bat to hit the ball, so it appears to be an advantage for the dominant hand to perform this role.

He added that the results suggest that by teaching batsmen to use a conventional stance, coaches may be inadvertently teaching players to bat ‘back-to-front’ and could be harming their players’ chances of developing expertise. By adopting the conventional stance, batsmen may have been unintentionally taught to bat ‘back-to-front’ and might not have maximized their potential in the game.

The list of batsmen who have used a reversed stance include, Brian Lara, Clive Lloyd, David Gower, Adam Gilchrist, Alistair Cook, Michael Hussey, Kumar Sangakkara, and Matthew Hayden all bat left handed yet are actually right-hand dominant. The reversed-stance advantage also extends to people who are left-hand dominant but bat right-handed, with famous examples including Michael Clarke, Inzamam-ul-Haq, and Adam Voges. Even Sachin Tendulkar, probably the best batsmen of the modern era, batted and bowled right-handed, but is known to write with his left hand.

It appears that in many cases the players adopted the reversed stance by chance. Mann noted, “Michael Hussey, one of Australia’s finest cricketers, is right-hand dominant but learned to bat left handed to emulate his childhood idol, Allan Border.”

The number of reversed-stance batsmen competing in the ICC T20 World Cup presently taking place in India is compelling, with the list including David Warner and Usman Khawaja (Australia); Chris Gayle (West Indies); Suresh Raina and Shikhar Dhawan (India); JP Duminy (South Africa); Thisara Perera (Sri Lanka); Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes (England); Colin Munro (New Zealand), and Tamim Iqbal (Bangladesh).

Surprisingly, half of the Australian batsmen/ all-rounders bat using a reversed stance as do 40 percent of the English and 33 percent of the South African, Sri Lankan and Bangladesh batsmen/all-rounders.

The study is published in the scientific journal Sports Medicine. (ANI)

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